The Wraparound: Islanders still believe they ‘can turn this around’

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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

It’s not an ideal spot to be in, but the Islanders still believe they can come back to win their second-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Isles have their work cut out for them starting in Game 3 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN), as they dropped the first two games on home ice. But the margin between winning and losing in this series has been slim. In Game 1, they lost 1-0 in overtime. In Game 2, they had a 1-0 lead for most of the game but they allowed the Hurricanes to score twice in the third frame.

“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” forward Josh Bailey said. “It could be 2-0 us, but it’s 0-2. We can’t get down. We still feel good about our group and have confidence that we can turn this around… They play very structured. I feel like it’s similar to the way we play. You can’t let frustration set in. We’ve found ways to frustrate teams throughout the year and in the playoffs. You can’t let them reverse it back on you. You’ve got to just stick with it, and we will.”

As Bailey points out, why wouldn’t the Islanders be confident?

Under head coach Barry Trotz, they put together a 103-point season and they totally revamped the way they defended as a team. They’ve received some really good goaltending from Robin Lehner and their better offensive players have chipped in at opportune times (before this series).

Assuming they can extend this series, they’ll have to find a way to use home-ice as an advantage again. In the first round, Nassau Coliseum was rocking and intimidating. It looked like the Isles were invincible there. Unfortunately for them, they’ve moved to Barclays Center in Round 2 and that feeling of invincibility is gone.

But before they can return home, they have to win at least one of these two upcoming games in Raleigh.

“I said to them, ‘Hey, we’re going to Carolina to win two games, plain and simple.’ You can’t win two unless you focus on the first, so we’ll focus on the first and go from there,” head coach Barry Trotz said.

Of course, the fact that the Hurricanes are so banged up should play into the Islanders’ favor. Goalie Curtis McElhinney made a few great stops when he entered Game 2 in relief of Petr Mrazek, but it’ll be interesting to see if the veteran can keep that up for an entire game or multiple games. Andrei Svechnikov, Jordan Martinook and Micheal Ferland have also missed extended periods of time, while Trevor van Riemsdyk and Saku Maenalanen are expected to miss the rest of the series.

 [NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

TODAY’S SCHEDULE: 

Game 4: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars, 9:30 p.m. ET, Blues lead 2-1: The Stars were able to battle back from three one-goal deficits in Game 3, but they ultimately fell on a late goal by Blues forward Patrick Maroon. As much as they traded punches with St. Louis in that game, they need to find a way to stop chasing the game and they have to get off to a better start. Ben Bishop didn’t have his best game either, so getting him back to Vezina Trophy form will be a key if the Stars are going to head back to St. Louis tied, 2-2. (NBCSN; 9:30 p.m. ET)

TUESDAY’S SCORES:
Blue Jackets 2, Bruins 1
Sharks 4, Avalanche 2

PHT’s Round 2 previews
Round 2 schedule, TV info
Questions for the final eight teams
PHT Roundtable
Blue Jackets vs. Bruins
Hurricanes vs. Islanders
Blues vs. Stars
Avalanche vs. Sharks

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.